Buchanan man arraigned on sexual assault chargesPublished 3:11pm Wednesday, November 27, 2013
A 25-year-old Buchanan man was arraigned Wednesday on charges stemming from an alleged sexual assault of a 14-year-old girl, who willingly entered his vehicle Monday in Buchanan.
Donald Roger Fester, of the 14000 block of Coveny Road, was formally charged in Berrien County Court with criminal sexual conduct in the first degree, a felony carrying a maximum penalty of life in prison, and CSC in the third degree. Bond was set at $200,000 cash or surety.
The victim was walking on River Road near Red Bud Trail in Buchanan when she was allegedly approached by Fester, who, according to court documents, offered her a ride. The victim willingly entered the suspect’s vehicle and was taken to two locations in the Niles Township area where she was allegedly sexually assaulted.
Fester then dropped off the victim at a mobile home park in the Buchanan area. She was later taken to a hospital for treatment and released Monday evening.
Police soon received an image of the suspect and the suspect’s vehicle that was taken at a gas station in Buchanan. They released the image on Facebook and to the media.
Det. Joseph Margherone, of the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department, said the department was immediately flooded with tips and they were able to identify the suspect within 5-10 minutes.
“We can’t thank the public enough for their assistance,” he said.
Police arrested Fester Tuesday evening. A preliminary examination before Judge Dennis Wiley is scheduled for Dec. 6 in Berrien County Court.
Margherone cautioned people not to take rides from strangers.
“You can’t stress it enough to your kids not to get into a stranger’s car, no matter how nice the person might seem,” said Margherone. “That’s just safety in general for kids.”
The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department’s road patrol and detective bureau worked the case.